North Routt Chili Cookoff returns |

North Routt Chili Cookoff returns

Luke Graham

Sydney Lotz reaches in for a ladle of chili at the 10th annual North Routt Chili Cook-Off in 2012. This year's event is from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

— Several rules have been put in place when discussing the North Routt Chili Cookoff.

Don't do so on an empty stomach.

Even if said stomach is full, don't do it near lunch.

If lunch has been eaten, don't discuss it for fear of regretting what was had for lunch.

Other than that, talk as much as possible about the North Routt Chili Cookoff.

The annual event, which serves as a benefit for the North Routt Preschool and North Routt Community Charter School, returns Sunday.

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"It's always a good time, and it always raises money for a good cause," said Kerri Ann Crocker, director of the North Routt Preschool. The event usually takes place in May, but Crocker said with a busy schedule in May they decided to move it up a month.

The idea, however, remains the same. Go early, and bring an appetite.

The cookoff runs from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Hahn's Peak Roadhouse. Those interested in participating can do so in four categories: red chili, green chili, other and dessert.

The cost is $10 to enter for those interested in participating. Participants also should bring crock pots, power cords and ladles and drop off six quarts or more by 12:30 p.m.

For those who just want to eat copious amounts of savory, sultry and all around delightfulness, the cost is $15 for adults and free for children 6 and younger. Families are $45. There also will be live music by the Wiffle Brothers.

"It's fun," said Dan Bubenheim, who won in the red and dessert categories last year. "I do it because I love to cook for myself, my wife and my family. But it's for a great cause."

For Bubenheim, whose Moose Chili won in the red category last year, it's a way for him to get back to his culinary background.

He always tries to make a chili unique to the area and never enters the same chili twice.

This year, he went to Pennsylvania to hunt on a family ranch, so he'll enter a white-tail chipotle chili. He started it at the beginning of the week, loading the ingredients, slow cooking them, freezing them and cooking them again.

Bubenheim said he doesn't do the event to win but instead considers it a gathering of good people for a good cause.

But there was a hint of competitiveness in his voice, and it came out when he talks about how much he enjoys making chili.

"It's a labor of love," he said. "It's a lot of work, but it's always worth it."

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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